The fifteen stories in Sing To It—10 of them her signature short-short stories—explore the Arab proverb, “When danger approaches, sing to it.” The dangers are overt and covert, external and internal, visited upon a person, or of a person’s own making. In “Greed,” a spurned wife obsesses about the affair her husband is having with an older woman who fancies herself a libertine; in “The Chicane,” a niece tells the story of her aunt’s depression and death, on the phone with her mother, who did not know she had taken an overdose of drugs. A volunteer at a city shelter cares for dogs in barbaric conditions in “A Full-Service Shelter” and in “Cloudland,” the collection’s longest story, a woman learns that the maternity home where she gave up a baby for adoption long ago was a horrific scam, and must reckon with her choice.
Amy Hempel is the author of The Dog of the Marriage, Tumble Home, At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, Reasons to Live, the coeditor of Unleashed, and a recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Ambassador Book Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and numerous grants from Yaddo. Her stories have appeared in Harper’s, Vanity Fair, GQ, Tin House, The Harvard Review, The Quarterly, and have been widely anthologized, included Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She teaches in the Graduate Writing Program at Bennington College, and at Stony Brook Southampton. She lives near New York City.